Isaiah Canaan didn't want to "flip a coin" between his chances of being a first round or second round pick in the upcoming NBA draft. So he's content to come back to Murray State and maybe become a face of college basketball next year in the process.
The Racers point guard decided he'll return for his senior year after a breakout campaign that helped Murray State to its best season in school history and highest ranking ever in the program nestled in the southwestern corner of Kentucky.
"There are a lot of things I feel like are left undone," Canaan told The Associated Press on Thursday. "I could possibly be one of the faces of college basketball next season and possibly be in the top 15 of the draft next year."
Coach Steve Prohm said he had encouraged Canaan to take his time in making the decision and said he wasn't concerned about the NCAA's April 10 date to withdraw from the draft if Canaan truly needed the time until the NBA's April 29 deadline. He said most of the information they received projected Canaan somewhere in the late first round or second round of June's NBA draft.
"I was told anywhere between 25 and 40," Canaan said. "I didn't really want to flip a coin with me getting drafted in first round or the second round with a whole other year I could play here. ... I was told coming back wouldn't hurt my draft stock."
Canaan, who first announced he'd be back to SiriusXM radio, had been leaning toward staying after leading the Racers with 19 points per game and shooting 45.6 percent from 3-point range, good for third in the nation among players with at least 200 attempts from beyond the arc.
"He just wants to continue to get better defensively," Prohm said. "He already shoots the ball well, he just wants to get better at the little things of the game. He's got great poise. He's got a great feel for the game."
Canaan, a second-team AP All-American, has won three regular season Ohio Valley Conference titles along with two tournament titles while at Murray.
"Four rings in a row is hard to find. I feel like I can do that," Canaan said. "I want to make another run in the NCAA tournament. Just better myself as a player."
Murray State finished a school-record 31-2 and matched its deepest tournament run by reaching the round of 32 after losing to Marquette 63-52. Canaan, who went 4 for 17 from the field in the loss, said in the aftermath of the game that he planned to return, but wanted to discuss his options with his family and Prohm.
Prohm received a contract extension on March 26 after his name was connected with the opening at Mississippi State.
"That weighed in a lot. With me being a senior and a new coach, I don't think I wanted to take that on," Canaan said. "With Coach Prohm staying, it made me feel a lot better about me staying. "
The Racers lost three seniors, but have an incoming five-player class that includes some much needed size with three forwards 6-foot-7 or taller. Canaan will be expected to lead and position the team for an even deeper NCAA tournament run.
"He really knew what he wanted to do," Prohm said. "It's obviously great for the team and it's great for him to lead us another year."